Branding methods for Corporate gifts

With so many different options out there for decorating your custom apparel or promotional products, how do you know when to use each method? Each decoration option comes with certain pros and cons as well as some limitations.

To make things easy, most of our products have a recommended or default decoration method and our dedicated team is always here to assist you if you have any questions. To make things even easier, the custom logo experts at TapWell have broken down the major decoration techniques below.

  • Embroidery
  • Screen Printing
  • Heat Transfer
  • Debossing
  • Engraving
  • Digital Printing
  • Vinyl Transfer

1) Embroidery

By far our most popular decoration style! The logo on your screen first needs to be “digitized”; mapped out for an embroidery machine based on the intricacies of a logo & its colors. From there, the appropriate thread colors are chosen, a sample stitch out is run, and once approved, your order is put on embroidery machines that read the final digitized file and embroider your logo to its exact specifications.

Custom Embroidery
When to Use Embroidery as a Decoration Method

Embroidered logos typically look best on polos, jackets, woven shirts, caps, and bags, but this is a truly versatile style of decoration. We’ve embroidered just about every style of apparel & accessory on our site!

Ideal for : Polo Shirts, Hats, Beanies & Visors, Jackets & Outerwear, Sweatshirts & Layering, Backpacks & Bags, Embroidered Towels & Blankets etc.
Benefits of Embroidery as a Decoration Method
  • There is an added texture to the design.
  • The product does not need to be laid flat like in printing, making embroidery suitable for hats and bags.
  • The intricate design evokes a high perceived value and sense of professionalism.
  • More durable and resistant to damage from washing than most decoration methods.
Drawbacks of Embroidery as a Decoration Method
  • The number of colors used in the design is limited to the thread color options and prices typically increase with additional colors.
  • Embroidery is only a suitable decoration method for fabric.
  • Embroidery machines can struggle with small lettering or fine details in the design.

2) Screen Printing

An easy way to think about this is as a photographic stencil process. A stencil is created and then is used to apply layers of ink directly onto a product. The result is the screen’s image transferred to the print surface. The versatility of this decoration method allows it to be used on a wide variety of items.

Custom Screen Printing
When to Use Screen Printing as a Decoration Method

Screen printing, also known as silk screen printing, is the most cost-effective method for large quantity print runs (around 50+ items) and works especially well with items like t-shirts and tanks. A complex design with many different colors requires different stencils for each color, so this decoration method is best for logos with 4 colors or less.

Ideal for : T-Shirts, Activewear & Sports Apparel, Sweatshirts & Hoodies, Pens & Printed Notebooks, Drinkware, Electronics, etc.
Benefits of Screen Printing as a Decoration Method
  • Most cost effective decoration method for larger custom apparel orders.
  • Just about any design and ink color can be applied to any product through screen printing.
  • Ink is applied thicker than digital printing, making your design more vibrant and easier to see on darker fabrics or surfaces.
Drawbacks of Screen Printing as a Decoration Method
  • The necessity to create screens means screen printing is not ideal for smaller order sizes or individually personalized items.
  • Prices typically increase on orders with a high number of colors.

3) Heat Transfer Printing

If you have ever used an iron to press a decal onto a shirt then you know the basis of heat transfer, but our method is exceptionally more advanced. The digital heat seal decoration method utilizes regulated heat and pressure to thermally bond graphics onto a material’s surface.

Custom Heat Transfer Printed T-Shirt
When to Use Heat Transfer as a Decoration Method

Heat transfer, also known as digital transfer, is a great decoration choice if you are looking for affordable design options with unlimited colors. With decoration methods like embroidery and screen printing, you are using physical resources – thread and ink – to create a logo. This cost can be avoided with heat transfer, making it the most ideal decoration option for smaller orders.

Ideal for : T-Shirts, Activewear & Sports Apparel, Sweatshirts & Hoodies, Backpacks & Bags, Team Uniforms & Jerseys
Benefits of Heat Transfer as a Decoration Method
  • Minimal setup costs and equipment make heat transfers ideal for smaller order sizes.
  • Affordable individually personalized decoration, such as sports uniforms.
  • Allows for finer details and smaller text than embroidery.
  • Heat transfer is available in many different finishes and styles.
  • Environmentally friendly.
Drawbacks of Heat Transfer as a Decoration Method
  • Logos and designs larger than 15 inches tend to be more expensive than other design methods.
  • An image does not last as long as some other decoration methods and the printed area is not very breathable.
  • Unable to use an iron on the printed area of the garment.
  • When logos are too large the texture of the design can be thrown off.
  • Should not be done on certain synthetic materials that can’t be exposed to the high heat from the iron.

4) Debossing

Debossing gives your logo a 3D element. Dies are constructed from metal in the shape of your logo. Heat and pressure push into the product and form the material into the impression you want. This decoration method produces stunning & sophisticated results and is perfect for leather decorating.

Custom Debossed Leather Journal
When to Use Debossing as a Decoration Method

Perfect for products where subtle and high perceived value is appropriate. A crisp debossing adds lasting value to items used every day as well as unique dimension and quality to your product. Ideal products are leather goods such as padfolios, money clips, or luggage tags.

Ideal for : Notebooks & Journals, Home Goods & Tools, Leather Coasters, Leather Wine Accessory Sets, Outerwear, etc.
Benefits of Debossing as a Decoration Method
  • Creates dimensional depth and detail by depressing your design onto the material.
  • Doesn’t create holes in fabric like embroidery, making it ideal for water-proof apparel.
  • Works extremely well on leather apparel or surfaces.
  • Can be done in conjunction with other types of decoration.
Drawbacks of Debossing as a Decoration Method
  • Can not be done across seams or zippers.
  • Small text or highly detailed designs do not work as well with debossing.

5) Laser Engraving

A unique application where the laser removes a thin layer of fiber or pigment dye. By adjusting the intensity and speed of the laser we can sculpt dimension into the design, resulting in stunning clarity and precision.

Custom Laser Engraved Metal Water Bottle
When to Use Laser Engraving as a Decoration Method

This decoration method creates sharp, crystal-clear logos that are unable to be peeled off. Ideal for items that get continuous use such as promotional pens, custom drinkware, and personalized tools.

Ideal for : Engraved Pens, Custom Water bottles & Tumblers, Engraved Mugs, Custom Home Goods, Kitchenware & Tools, Custom Flashlights, Custom Multi-Tools & Pocket Knives, Personalized Flasks, etc.
Benefits of Laser Engraving as a Decoration Method
  • Go-to decoration method for metal products.
  • The engraving process itself is cheap and can be done very quickly.
  • Designs are extremely durable, making them ideal for frequently handled items.
Drawbacks of Laser Engraving as a Decoration Method
  • Laser engraving machines are expensive.
  • Laser engraving is typically only performed on metal or wood surfaces.

6) Digital Printing

You can think about digital printing, or direct to garment printing, as a similar process to printing a document from your computer. An image is created with no restraints to the number of colors or type of artwork used, and the image is printed or affixed directly onto the material. With embroidery & screen printing, you are dealing with physical resources (thread & ink) to create a logo; with digital printing, full color, high definition logos can be done economically, even in small quantities. Here at TapWell, we utilize digital printing strictly for hard goods like water bottles, notebooks, and electronics.

Custom Digitally Printed Notebook
When to Use Digital Printing as a Decoration Method

Commonly used as a substitute for screen printing on smaller orders, digital printing also works well with logos that require a high amount of detail or are very graphics heavy. This is also a commonly used option for logos that contain a gradient, as the print can closely match the digital version seen on a computer screen. Check out our breakdown of the differences between screen printing and digital printing here.

Ideal for : Notebooks, Water Bottles & Drinkware, Electronics, T-Shirts, Activewear & Sports Apparel, Sweatshirts & Hoodies
Benefits of Digital Printing as a Decoration Method
  • Easier set up than screen printing – no screen creation or color separation required.
  • Ability to print more precise details in a broader range of colors.
  • Great for smaller order sizes.
Drawbacks of Digital Printing as a Decoration Method
  • Digital Printing is typically more expensive than screen printing for large orders.
  • Certain Direct to Garment Machines can only print on 100% cotton fabric.
  • Digital Printing is slower than screen printing for large orders.
  • DTG Machines can struggle with printing multi-color designs on dark fabrics.

7) Vinyl Transfer

This transfer process uses heat to activate and attach a vinyl sticker to a fabric. Vinyl is soft to the touch with great stretch and is durable enough for sportswear. You can read our complete step by step guide to custom vinyl transfer here!

Custom Vinyl Transfer Printed T-Shirt

When to Use Vinyl Transfer as a Decoration Method

Vinyl transfer has especially great durability. Perfect for uniforms and jerseys, as they are worn frequently and go through a lot of wear and tear. This decoration option is extremely dependable wash after wash.

Ideal for : T-Shirts, Custom Activewear & Sports Apparel, Sweatshirts & Hoodies, Custom Backpacks & Bags
Benefits of Vinyl Transfer as a Decoration Method
  • The image is long lasting and durable.
  • Your company logo or custom design is easily applied to any fabric or material that can absorb color.
  • Vinyl transfer is a very affordable decoration method.
Drawbacks of Vinyl Transfer as a Decoration Method
  • Preparing the vinyl design can be time-consuming.
  • It is possible to add multiple colors to your design, but it requires you to layer solid colors to get there and that just adds time to the process.

Don’t Get Puzzled Over Printing Methods

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of some of the different printing methods used to get your logo printed onto promotional products.

The key thing to remember when it comes to printing methods is that your account manager is an expert. They’ve got years of experience and will happily advise you upon the best branding method for your logo. Ensuring you get quality promotional merchandise is what we do.

If you’re looking to get your own logo printed promotional merchandise then be sure to check out our popular promo products here. Alternatively you can call +91 9769378543 or email us at rases@tapwell.co.in